When Time-Outs Don’t Work

p_FAN2029215In my family, time-outs work so well that my 4-year-old recently told my 6-year-old to take a time-out for hitting — and he did. I’m lucky, I know. Not everyone finds this
discipline tactic so tried-and-true.

“For some children, time-outs are a joke,” says Larry Koenig, Ph.D., author of Smart Discipline: Fast, Lasting Solutions for Your Peace of Mind and Your Child’s Self-Esteem. “They either won’t stay put, or they get into a power struggle with their parents, or they couldn’t care less about having to sit in a chair for ten minutes. In cases like that, the time-out doesn’t modify misbehavior one bit.” Continue reading

The Surprising Secret to Raising a Well-Behaved Kid

p_101356966My friend Emily has three amazingly well-behaved children. They put their toys away when she tells them to, go to bed without a fuss, and even settle their own disputes. I actually witnessed her 3-year-old son calmly ask for a truck back from a friend who had yanked it out of his hands.

Emily admits that her children have their moments — “They are kids, after all!” — but says that real discipline challenges are few and far between. “What’s your secret?” I once asked, hoping she could impart some much-needed wisdom. “Threatening them with punishment? Giving them time-outs? Bribing them with Oreos?” Emily shook her head. “Nothing like that,” she told me. “If I’ve done anything right, it’s that I’ve made it clear from the get-go what I expect from them. Now, all I have to do is shoot them a look, and they know to discipline themselves.” Continue reading

The One-Week Fix for Bad Behavior

p_101773125“Why does Julian have to be so annoying?” Usually, when my 9-year-old daughter, Charlotte, poses this question about her 4-year-old brother, my response is, “Don’t call your brother annoying.” But one rainy day, after spending hours listening to Julian’s whining, I asked myself: “Why do kids have to be so annoying?”

Nothing drives me crazier than my son’s high-pitched complaints, except Charlotte’s tendency to pinch or smack her brother. Sometimes I wonder if my stress level is higher because I’m a single mom. Still, the married mothers I know say every child has a behavior that’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. But we may be as much to blame as our kids. “If you focus on what a child is doing wrong, he’ll naturally resist, which leads to arguments and worse conduct,” explains Bernard Percy, a parenting consultant in Los Angeles. Continue reading

Help Your Preschooler Gain Self-Control

playpuzzels 2When asked about school readiness skills, many teachers say children who succeed in kindergarten know when and how to control their impulses. They can follow through when a task is difficult and listen to directions for a few minutes. These skills are linked to self-control. Children can develop them at preschool and at home.

Here are a few ways families can help children learn self-control. Change the rules of a game to make it an opposite game. For example, instead of playing the familiar version of Simon Says, play Simon Doesn’t Say.

Explain the new rule in words and actions: “Do the opposite of what Simon asks you to do. If Simon Says ‘Touch your head,’ you should touch your toes.” Be sure to demonstrate how this works. Keep directions simple. Continue reading

Early Development Tips and Tools

Children-reading-1Podcast—Turning On or Tuning Out: The Influence of Media on Young Children’s Development – In this podcast, Dr. Ellen Wartella talks about recent research on the impact of media on young children and how parents can use this information to make good decisions around TV and other “screens”.

Your Child’s Development – This set of nine, age-based handouts include a “what to expect” chart for each age range, suggestions for supporting your baby or toddler’s healthy development, frequently asked questions, a research summary, and information about common parenting challenges for each age and stage.

Healthy Minds – This set of seven, age-based handouts link child and brain development and highlight the important ways in which babies and toddlers grow and learn in the first three years.  Continue reading